The Secrets Of Resilient People By Lucy Hone

Lucy Hone trained as an expert in resilience. She directed her educational career towards helping people overcome tragedy, whatever form that took for the individual. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, she was able to put her background to good use in the wake of the 2011 earthquake that disrupted the community.

Little did she know, however, that three years later, she would need to try and apply her knowledge to her own life. In 2014, Lucy’s daughter was killed in a car crash, along with Lucy’s friend Sally, and her daughter.

Lucy suddenly found herself on the receiving end of much of the information she would usually offer others. She received grief counselling, countless pamphlets, and was told that she was now more likely to experience divorce, family trauma, and mental health issues. While this might have been statistically true, Lucy became aware of the heartless and factual nature of her previous work.

As a result, Lucy decided to conduct an experiment on herself using all of her knowledge, tools, and experience. Eventually her tests worked, and she came up with the three main strategies that make resilient people resilient. Here’s a summary of what she found out.

1. Suffering Is Part Of Life

To put it bluntly, resilient people know that suffering comes to us all in one form or another. This doesn’t mean they actively seek it out, but rather when it does come, they’re not taken aback by it.

Knowing that suffering will eventually come to us all is the first step in dealing with it and becoming more resilient. Importantly, knowing that suffering will come helps to prevent us from feeling discriminated against. Also, in a way, it provides the first step on the path to acceptance.

2. Know Where To Direct Your Attention

Resilient people are able to focus on things they can change and accept things they can’t. This seemingly simple step is the difference between overcoming challenges and being drowned by them.

Rather than focusing solely on the negative, tune in to the goodness around you. The term in psychology is “benefit-finding” - know what to be grateful for and how to recognise it. Find the language that works for you, but make sure it focuses on accepting the good.

3. Always Ask: “Is What I’m Doing Good For Me?”

It might seem selfish, but selfishness is okay in certain circumstances. Facing challenges in life makes it acceptable to be selfish. Challenge yourself to challenge yourself, and always ask whether a particular way of thinking is helping or harming your mental state.

Asking yourself this question makes you reassess your thinking and puts you back in control. It can help to see the benefit (or pointlessness) of a situation and will help you to instead tune in on the good.


Overcoming the aftermath of an injury is never easy. Much of the support focuses on the physical aspect, but the mental aspect is just as important. Understanding the keys to resilience is a powerful way to change your thinking and to overcome challenges. Resilience focuses on accepting things you can’t change and dealing with the fallout in other ways. This is one of the most important things you can do when faced with an injury.


You can check out Lucy Hone’s full TedTalk here.